Erbil with lion’s share of investment in 2012
Over $6 billion invested in Kurdistan in one year
Statistics available at the Research and Information Office of the Kurdistan Region Board of Investment showed that more than US$ 6.3 billion had been invested in the Region in 2012.
However, this investment was distributed unequally among the three provinces of the region with Erbil alone receiving US$ 4.2 billion, with Duhok attracting US$ 1.4 billion. Sulaimaniya, however, had the smallest share with only US$ 700 million in investment during the whole of last year.
The total investment in- flow into the region following the decree of the Region’s investment law in mid-2006 has been more than US$ 24 billion. This means that Erbil has attracted one sixth of this entire investment in 2012 alone, which was twice as large as the investment amount of the province in 2011, while the investment growth rate during the same year was more than three times.
There are a number of factors behind the fast growth of investment in the Erbil province in comparison to the rest of the region.
Najat Bapir, Director General of the Investment Directorate of Erbil, argues that one significant factor behind this growth was granting licenses to a number of investment projects whose licenses had been put on hold in the past.
After the President of the Kurdistan Region announced a reform plan in 2011, a number of investment licenses were put on hold and a number of projects were stopped, while legal action was taken against some others.
After that and by the end of 2011, part of the authorities of the Board of Investment were transferred to the Investment Directorate Generals of each province, and since then only the directorate generals are authorized to grant investment licenses in their respective provinces.
Transferring authority to the lower levels of administration in the Seventh cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) as well as efforts to minimize the procedures as part of a broader pack of administrative changes in the Region’s capital, according to Bapir, were among other factors behind the investment growth drive in the province. For the time being, investment licenses for residential projects have been put on hold, and Erbil’s Investment Director argues that in 2013 they will focus more on industrial, tourism and agricultural projects with respective priorities. In 2012, investment in the housing sector had an 80% share of the province’s entire investment amount, followed by the Industrial and tourism sectors.